Whether you're pursuing a degree that focuses on sustainable food and agriculture, or excited about incorporating food sustainability into your personal life, there are many ways to get into this growing field.
Sustainable agriculture needs more farmers. Sustainable food businesses and nonprofits need more thinkers and strategists. Sustainable food policy needs more planners and activists. Opportunities for learning, education and experience abound!
Pursuing a major that focuses on sustainable food systems is a great way to prepare for a career in food sustainability. Many colleges are keeping up with the growth of the sustainable food field by establishing new majors to accommodate student interests and/or allowing students to create their own academic paths.
The Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Education (AASHE) provides a great directory of agricultural programs with sustainability focuses.
In addition to majors that focus directly on sustainable food, many educational paths can provide you with skills to work for a company with a sustainable food focus. Communications, English and Marketing majors help shape critical messages and outreach initiatives that influence consumer choices. Business majors build strategies to facilitate financial success for startups and non-profits. Science majors research the impacts of conventional versus sustainable agriculture. Pre-law and public policy majors help shift the legal and political systems toward better food policies. Architecture and engineering students design structures and systems for sustainable food production. The list goes on!
The job market for people working in food sustainability is growing!
Idealist (Jobs in food sustainability are frequently posted here)
Great! We need more young farmers. However, starting any agricultural operation from scratch is a challenge that requires immense planning and budgeting. It's critical to build awareness about funding opportunities. Here are some resources to get you started:
Comprehensive information about finding the financial help you need to start a farm
A guide to finding credit and capital
A guide to federal farm and food-related programs and grants, organized by issue and eligibility
A list of competitive grants for researchers, agricultural educators, students, farmers and ranchers
An organization of young farmers and collaborators who work to recruit and support new young farmers
Training programs that cover everything from farming basics to the details of business planning and farm management
There are many organizations and programs that offer opportunities for volunteering, membership, internships and other ways to engage with the sustainable food systems space.
Their site shares on-the-job learning opportunities as well as organizations that offer ways to participate.
The SAEA develops, applies and researches teaching and learning methods for sustainable agriculture education.
(WWOOF-USA®) fosters a global community conscious of ecological farming practices by connecting visitors with organic farmers and promoting educational exchange.
They offer a variety of resources for opportunities in sustainable agriculture as well as agriculture IT and engineering.
They are a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food.
Sustainable Table is your go-to source for information on food sustainability. Our Issues Pages offer excellent resources for projects and reports. We're also proud to share ways to eat sustainably and take action to build a better food system. Check out our EcoCentric Blog to get up-to-date information about the latest food and ag issues, plus inspiring stories about people working to build a better food system.
Take action on food issues important to you over at our Meatrix Take Action page.
Be sure to try our free online tools to learn even more:
Seasonal Food Guide - See when produce is at its peak in any state.
Water Footprint Calculator - Learn how much water you use every day: not just the water that comes out of the tap, but also the water it takes to make the food you eat.
The Meatrix - These animated films share the realities of factory farming.